Community report: Windows Azure web camps

Recently I teamed up with the local Microsoft Australia DPE team to run 1 day training events around Australia. It taught the attendees how to get started with Windows Azure website and deploy their own ASP.Net MVC app that takes advantage of SQL Azure and a suite of other technologies.

I initially did 3 training events around Australia:

  • Brisbane – 15th March 2014
  • Melbourne – 22nd March 2014
  • Sydney – 3rd May 2014

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/bizspark_au/archive/2014/03/08/free-windows-azure-web-camps-brisbane-melbourne-and-sydney.aspx

The events all completely booked out and were a great success, which prompted Microsoft to schedule another tour immediately after:

  • Melbourne – 24th May 2014
  • Sydney – 31st May 2014
  • Brisbane – 14th June 2014

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/bizspark_au/archive/2014/04/23/new-dates-announced-microsoft-azure-web-camp-in-melbourne-sydney-and-brisbane.aspx

 

I decided to run these events differently to how they are usually done. Traditionally these events are run as “Hands on Labs” days. But I think this format is of limited value. A presenter stands up front and briefly talks about a topic for 20 minutes, and then attendees do the exercise themselves independently. But I always see some attendees breeze through the labs and sit there bored. Meanwhile other people struggle to make any progress, and feel frustrated as they are always rushed along.

Instead I thought there was more value in seeing how another developer works. As a consultant I an constantly exposed to the work habits of other developers, and pick up many new techniques just watching other people work. Many of the attendees are either very new to the Microsoft stack, or they have been working with the same people for an extended period.
For these reasons I instead ran the day as an 8 hour non-stop deep dive in how to create your own website and have it published to Windows Azure.

  • How to sign up for Windows Azure
  • How to create a new website with ASP.Net MVC5
  • Using EF6 and SQL Azure to store data
  • Scaling with Azure Websites
  • Adding Web API to your site to unlock your data to other apps
  • Bootstrap
  • jQuery basics
  • Signalr

After showing everyone how easy it is to get a complete custom built deployed out to Azure Websites for free, I talked about the power the gives every developer. Next week they could go home on a Friday afternoon, start creating a site, and by Sunday night they can deploy and show it to a few people.

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